When you start your computer, the user accounts listing in the Welcome Screen may show up with an empty frame. Result would be the same if you open the User Accounts window in the Control Panel. Also, the user accounts icon may be missing in the Start menu.
This happens if the policy Apply the default user logon picture to all users (Registry Value: UseDefaultTile) is set, but the source bmp file is missing in the system. This policy setting allows an administrator to standardize the logon pictures for all users on a system to the default user picture. If this Policy is enabled, the Welcome Screen uses the default user picture which is stored at %PROGRAMDATA%\Microsoft\User Account Pictures\user.bmp. The default guest picture is stored at %PROGRAMDATA%\Microsoft\User Account Pictures\guest.bmp. If the default pictures do not exist, an empty frame is displayed.
To resolve the problem, you can either 1) Replace the file user.bmp (128×128 px) to the above folder or 2) Set the Policy setting to Not Configured.
To disable the Policy "Apply the default user logon picture to all users" via Group Policy Editor, use these steps:
Note: As Home Editions of Windows do not include the Group Policy Editor, you need to configure this setting using a Registry-based Policy. See section Registry Fix below.
1. Click Start, type gpedit.msc and press ENTER
2. Go to the following branch:
3. Double-click Apply the default user logon picture to all users
4. Set it to Not Configured
5. Exit the Group Policy Editor.
Download w7-restore-user-pic.zip and save to Desktop. Unzip the contents and extract the files to a folder. Double-click w7-restore-user-pic.reg to run it. Restart Windows for the change to take effect.
Restart Windows, and you should have got the user account picture back for all accounts.
About the author
Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in the ITeS industry — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP [2003 to 2012] who contributes to various Windows support forums.